My friend and respected colleague, Health Coach (and Business Coach/CPA extraordinaire) Jessica Mishra, of Beaming with Health, has some important things to say, particularly around a topic that her and I are both very passionate about: answering that omnipresent question of, “why can’t I lose weight? I am doing everything right…right?” I am honored to have her as a guest writer on this weeks’ post:
Do you feel like you are doing almost everything right when it comes to your health habits? You are eating well for the most part and exercising regularly. For some reason, though, you can’t seem to reach the optimal weight you feel your body should be at. I have been through this myself, and I hear about this from clients. Let’s look at a few areas that are important to address when it comes to weight loss that do not directly relate to food or exercise.
Did you know that your body does this nifty little thing to protect you when you have excess toxicity in your body? It “does you a solid” by storing toxins in your fat cells. This is actually a helpful function that the body is performing, but it doesn’t seem so helpful when all you see is excess weight on your body. What can be done?
Well, basically anything that assists the body with the natural detoxification process. Saunas (especially far infrared saunas), clean eating programs, Epsom salt baths, and castor oil packs are just a few things that can be done to support the liver and the detoxification process. Teas like milk thistle or dandelion root also provide excellent support for the liver. Consistent exercise or movement will make sure your lymph system continues to move so that toxins can be removed on a regular basis. Even if you can’t get to the gym, at least have some kind of movement every day (even a nice walk).
Pay attention to your body and see if you have some of the common signs of toxicity. If you have constipation, bad body odor or breath, fatigue, a coated white tongue, acne or other skin conditions, or headaches these can all be signs of excess toxicity. In the case that these symptoms persist, it would be good to work with a holistic practitioner such as a Naturopathic doctor, health coach, or integrative MD. Prolonged excess toxicity can lead to chronic conditions such as cancer down the line, so it is important to address it early on.
Stress and Adrenal Fatigue
Oh precious adrenal glands (small glands which sit on top of the kidneys) you have such a job to do. Especially when we are stressed! The adrenal glands produce cortisol. Cortisol is often known as the stress hormone. When we are stressed out or our bodies are undergoing a form of stress that perhaps we are not aware of, excess cortisol is produced. Do you know what excess cortisol in the body means? It means fat storage around the midsection. No thank you, we will pass on that please!
The adrenal glands can become fatigued over time when exposed to too much stress. This can come from regular stress (working too hard, worrying, anxiety), but it can also come from lack of sleep, poor diet, food allergies, and skipping meals. When adrenal fatigue has set in, it is almost impossible to lose excess weight no matter what we do.
So what can be done? The number one thing to heal adrenals is to remove the provoking agent. Easier said than done, but take your best stab at it. Try to incorporate stress management practices like yoga or meditation. Leave work early when you can. Address food allergies and clean up your diet where possible. Reduce alcohol, sugar, and caffeine because these items do not get along well with your adrenals. Eat regular meals. When you skip meals, your body produces more cortisol to get your blood sugar back up.
There are several key nutrients, which support the adrenals, but in the interest of not writing the world’s longest blog post—eat a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables and high-quality meats, amongst other nutrient-dense whole foods. Finally, the best thing you can do to heal the adrenal glands, is to get more rest. That’s right! Sleep is so important. If you can get to bed around the same time every night and get 7-8 hours of sleep that will really help. Sleep in a bit, too, on the weekends when you can.
The mind is a very powerful thing. It can even influence the way your body functions. Sometimes excess weight can be present as a form of protection or cushion from something you are afraid of. It can also stick around when something in your life feels stuck. Perhaps you are in a job that you hate, or maybe you need to leave a toxic relationship. It is amazing what can happen with your body when you push forward through a difficult decision that you have been resisting.
I also want to say that there are many things in life that nourish us besides food. Often when one of those areas is absent or we feel empty, food steps in to comfort us. Again this is easier said than done, but if you feel an absence in one of these core areas (i.e. spirituality, relationships, a social network, or a fulfilling career) take steps where you can to make this part of your life whole again. Call on others for support when necessary. You are the creator of your own life, and the first step is setting the intention to get what you want.
I touched on sleep earlier, but I want to say a bit more about it here. Let’s tie some of the above concepts together. When you are asleep, this is when your body detoxifies. If you do not get enough sleep, your body does not have ample time to remove toxins from your body. Hello fat storage (as discussed above).
In addition, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body looks to quick sources of energy in the form of caffeine and sugar. Thus, cravings feel much stronger when your body is tired, and it becomes more challenging to make smart food decisions. Further, when you are on what I call the “blood sugar roller coaster”, your metabolism takes a hit. You know what I mean, right? Coffee in the morning followed by mid-morning crash. Insert sugar or delicious baked good. Another crash mid-afternoon, more coffee or sugar, and then you feel depleted by the end of the day. When our blood sugar is constantly doing this rise and fall dance, our body goes into panic mode. Once again we get excess production of cortisol and fat storage. The best thing to keep blood sugar balanced is to lessen things that spike and drop it like refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, and alcohol. It is also very important to eat regular meals. That means no skipping breakfast or lunch no matter how busy you are.
Thank you to Amy Griffith for allowing me to do a guest blog post. I would love to hear from you! Are there areas discussed above that you feel like you could use support with? Connect with Jessica.